$60 for the office suite--if you can prove you're a student. (Credit: Microsoft)

Over 90 percent off its original asking price, Microsoft's sale of its productivity suite, Office Ultimate, for $59.95 to bona fide students seems nothing short of a stellar deal.

That is, until you consider that the tools to download an entire office suite to your Windows computer for free has long been available to everyone, not just registered college kids with an e-mail address ending in '.edu'. Sun Microsystem's popular but still undersung productivity suite OpenOffice.org is freeware with all the office essentials that students--and most everyone else--use in daily computing, including word processing, spreadsheets, presentation and database tools, and drawing software.

Read more on OpenOffice.org and other freeware alternatives to popular photo-editing, painting, and security mainstays in our collection of price-busting programs for Windows.





Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.